The circular saw is one of the most important tools for carpenters, tool hobbyists, and home repair enthusiasts. Some people may prefer to use hand saws to manually cut wood, but frankly, anyone using a hand saw instead of a circular saw, is just making life harder for themselves.
Best Circular Saws – A complete Guide
A good circular saw is more versatile, powerful, and easier to use when compared with a hand saw. Some people like to claim that hand saws are “safer,” but as long as you operate the circular saws properly, then a circular saw is just as safe, if not safe as a hand saw.
Because of their usefulness in home carpentry projects, and because of their popularity with tool enthusiasts, circular saws are often bought by people who do not know what to look for; either because they are buying the saw as a gift for someone or because someone has decided to do a home repair project themselves instead of calling a carpenter.
If you are not familiar with power tools in general, picking out a good circular saw can be a bit of a hassle. There will be a lot of unfamiliar terms, you will not know what type of circular saw you should get for what job, etc. So, to help make everything a bit easier, I have written a complete guide to circular saws. Everything you need to know about circular saws, what the different kinds are, what to look for, safety tips, will be covered.
Basic Saw Terminology
Circular saws are tools meant for making precision cuts along a surface, usually wood. Some basic terminology you should be familiar with before using a circular saw includes:
Blade Guard- A cover, usually made of a durable material, which covers the blade of a circular saw when it is not active; it retracts when the circular saw is in use.
Foot plate- The part of the saw that steadies the saw while it is being used.
Depth adjuster- A component of the saw that allows the saw to cut pieces of different thickness.
Bevel adjuster- A component of the saw that lets the footplate tilt in order to make bevel cuts.
In terms of measurement, circular saws are usually categorized by blade diameter. There are many different sizes, but the most common blade sizes you will see in a hardware store range from five and a half inches to 7 and a half the inches.
- Also See: Table Saw Vs Circular Saw comparison
Different types of circular saws
These are the circular saws of choice for professional carpenters. They are workhorses and can easily cut through the wood for the entire day without slowing down. The motor on worm-drive saws is parallel to the blade. This means these saws have enough torque to cut through difficult material like soaked lumber, and even concrete. Worm-drive circular saws are very heavy though. These are the type of saws you want to get if you are doing heavy duty jobs constantly, and are able to handle the heavyweight and kickback that is associated with these saws. Do not get a worm-drive circular saw for a beginner, save these types of saws for experienced carpenters.
These are also sometimes known as “inline saws” or “traditional saws.” These circular saws differ from worm-drive saws in that with these saws the motor is perpendicular to the blade, as opposed to parallel. Because of this, sidewinder circular saws are much lighter and easier to maneuver. But, these circular saws can still handle major cutting jobs, so do not think that because they are lighter they are somehow less powerful. Overall, these are a better option for beginners or people who have never owned a circular saw before.
So, these are circular saws meant for finishing carpentry jobs and for cutting thinner materials. You cannot just use these saws alone, but I felt I should mention them since many carpenters like having these types of saws around and they are technically a separate type of circular saw.
Cordless Saws vs Corded – Advantages and Disadvantages
When picking out circular saws, you will have the option of choosing between cordless circular saws and corded circular saws. Corded circular saws are usually more powerful; being able to provide more torque than cordless models and they usually have bigger blades on average. Also, corded circular saws never need to charge, so you can use them whenever you feel like it, without having to wait for it to charge.
On the other hand, cordless models are best if you move around a lot, or need to do jobs around your house. With a cordless circular saw, you can easily move around without using extension cords or portable generators. They are also much lighter than corded circular saws.
Buyers Guide. What to look for
Are you ready to buy a circular saw? Below is a list of most important features and things to focus while shopping for circular saws.
Certain circular saws come with built-in laser guides that help you make precise cuts. Lase guides make it so that you do not need guides or clamps to make straight, precise cuts. If you are not used to using a circular saw, a built-in laser guide can be really helpful.
High quality blades
Not all circular saw blades are made the same. Some blades are meant for specialty tasks, like tile-cutting blades or masonry blades. Other blades are just better quality, but are more expensive to make, so companies opt not to make them. The best quality blades you can get are called “carbide-tipped blades.” They last longer and cut better than regular steel blades.
When you are working on a long job, the sawdust is going to accumulate quickly; not only is it a hassle to clean up, but it can also negatively impact your work. Look for circular saws that come with dust blowers, which blow sawdust off the cutting line.
Easy to change blade system
Blades can get worn out and will need to be changed. Make the job easier by getting a circular saw that offers an easy to change blade system. If you switch blades frequently while working, then this is a must-have feature.
Some circular saws have a brake system wherein the blade stops quickly when you release the trigger. This function improves safety and reduces the time it takes to move on to the next cut.
- Never use a blade that is rusty, dull, or damaged.
- Before using a circular saw, do a quick safety check and make sure all the components are working properly.
- Avoid wearing loose fitting clothing when working near a saw (or any power tools for that matter).
- Always wear eye and ear protection when using a saw, you do not want to get sawdust or splinters in your eyes when working with a saw.